Q at The Empress - The Fairmont Empress Hotel
Located in the most storied room in Victoria, Q at the Empress is a must-visit culinary celebration that is second to none. This atmospheric space has a distinctly modern, contemporary feel, all the while staying true to the building’s unique iconic heritage with its dark cherry wood ceilings and spectacularly detailed moldings. Focusing on regional ingredients, the carefully curated menu features locally sourced seafood, meats and produce prepared surely and skillfully by Chef Morgan Wilson and his incredible team. Try one of over 850 bottles of wines from the temperature controlled visible wine wall featuring the best of the Pacific North West and select vintages from all over the globe. From romantic dinner to vibrant social event all you need to do is just sit back, relax and enjoy Q at the Empress, the place to be on Vancouver Island.
We loved the food and the service was excellent; however, we did not enjoy the live music at all. It was much too loud and the genre didn’t suit the atmosphere of the restaurant.
We came in for drinks and dessert to celebrate my sister’s birthday and were treated so well by our server, Adam. We loved the chocolate hazelnut pie! It was delicious the candied hazelnuts were excellent. Also tried the famous gin and tonic made with the mesmerizing purple Empress gin and quite enjoyed that as well. Will definitely be back to sit in the bar, try more of the drinks and enjoy the live music.
Great flavorful food offerings. Staff worked well together with attention to the customer. Classic and creative drink menu with distilled Gin specifically made for the Empress.
Thank you to John for the lovely personalized service!!
I recently went to the Q at The Empress with my mom, for Mother's Day, and the service was outstanding. Not only that, but the smaller details that were included were wonderful. We had items on their brunch menu, and we both really enjoyed our choices. Flavorful, delicious, and well presented. The server we had even did a little white chocolate banner for my mom's birthday that was later in the week.
Thank you to the staff, for making our brunch a wonderful and relaxing experience.
We had brunch at the Q on Mother's Day. Our server, Sybil, was outstanding. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal and the restaurant.
Food was good. Pricey for what you get, typical of Fairmont. Service was good, albeit a bit rushed. Noisy, very noisy next to the bar.
Dinner at the Q was probably one of the best dining experiences I have had. Magical atmosphere, great service, and unparalleled cuisine.
A friend and I went to the Q at The Empress for brunch, and it was extremely enjoyably. The atmosphere was calm, where was only one other family eating at the same time. I assume it’s is because everyone else goes for high tea. The food is very affordable, the plating was tremendously beautiful and taste was up perfect. We will definitely be returning.
My husband and I love Victoria and The Empress. It’s where we got engaged in 2017 and where we decided to hold our (very small) nuptial ceremony. We brought our officiant and witnesses to dinner at The Q, and had planned to wed at the dinner table, but when the restaurant found out what we had planned, they went way out of their way to make the night so special for us. Not only did they reserve us a lovely secluded table by the fireplace, but they let us marry in the Royal Suite at the hotel (which was BEAUTIFUL!). The food, drinks, and dessert were all incredible. All of the servers and staff were so kind and thoughtful. They even comped our bottle of champagne at the end of the night.
All in all it was a truly unforgettable experience! I will always recommend the Q and the Empress to anyone visiting Victoria.
Background: I'm a winemaker and former chef de partie and my dining companion was a Red Seal chef and a Pastry Chef with 50 years of service. We have been going to the Empress for forty years together, celebrating family events and personal trips in a wonderful style.
The recent renovations haven't bettered the place. The loss of the Bengal Room is a terrible one, and the current bar is uncomfortable and uninviting.
But our meal at Q was _dreadful_.
The waitstaff and management were more than accommodating, and did a textbook job to mitigate the situation, both our waitress and the manager on duty could not have been more professional.
The issue is that not only is the menu at Q very ill-conceived, it was executed very poorly.
The chicken liver pate was a mousse, and actually fairly nice. But it was served on a roofing tile, not a plate. This may be an aesthetic choice, but slate tiles are irregular and fissured. Not only was it hard to eat from, the mousse was in the cracks of the tile and getting 100% of it out during cleaning would be impractical, which left us uneasy.
The short rib was served as a whole strip of rib, and not cut into manageable pieces. It was also curiously free of bison flavour, and surprisingly had more fat than meat by percentage, and was stringy and tough. It was served with a curious assortment of un-dressed/unseasoned steamed vegetables (carrots, green beans and zucchini) more suited to a steam table than fine dining. The blue corn polenta was awful, tasting of wax crayons and nothing else.
The pork hock was advertised as brined and slow-cooked. It most resembled a smoked pork hock available from local butchers more suited to soupmaking than an entree. It was salty, as such hocks are and while it was tender, it was difficult to eat because the only flavour was sodium chloride. The tagliatelle served with it was dry and rubbery and not prepared fresh.
There was no pleasure in any of the food.
This is such a classy resturant that the anbiance makes you fell good. Good news, food is good too. We had brunch and food was enjoyable. Don't miss out on coctails
Great food and great service at a classic Victoria location.
This is the bar area near the tea room. It is certainly a restaurant, but it is not the main dining room. We ended up here by mistake for Easter Brunch, but it ended up being a great experience. Recommend.
We had an amazing time at the Q. I was celebrating my birthday and everything was great. Raymond our server was patient and had awesome customer service. The ambience is breathtaking, the food was delicious, we will definitely be back 🤗
A colleague highly recommended the Q so I went to entertain out-of-country visitors.
I did not find high value considering the price and the following findings:
- There were some crumbs on the chair when we were seated.
- The black granite table top still had some water streaks on them - no white linen tops.
- Was given one of those disposable chopsticks wrapped in paper similar to what you find from fast food places. Let's limit the waste by doing small things like offering re-usable cutleries instead of disposable ones. This also cheaps out the restaurant.
- The food was good but not great as one might expect from an Empress dining place.
The welcome and hosting were excellent.
I was disappointed that our table for 8 was not a round table so that we could all visit. We are not all from Victoria. Otherwise my husband enjoyed his bday dinner there.
Food was delicious and our server, Guy was fantastic! One of our party ordered duck confit and it was overcooked. That's why 4 stars instead of 5.
Really nice place, but overall, not worth it in terms of pricing
Again, The Q was absolutely on point. The service was welcoming like coming home to family. The food kept you wanting more, like plot twists that keep you on the edge of your seat! I was full but found myself wanting more, like replaying a classic movie you just can’t get enough of... my steak was 8 ounces of bliss, with every bite making you pause like a work of art that takes your breath away! Please.... if you are in town, go visit The Q. Tell em Carson sent ya... you will thank me later! With a full restaurant and bar, the sounds of live entertainment will make you feel right at home...
Andrew, our server was very attentive. Great wine and food selection.
Five stars all around. Interesting contrast of old & new.
Creative dishes with lots of local vegetables. Starters are large enough to split. Good wine selection.
Thank you for the wonderful review, Graham! We will certainly pass these comments onto our culinary team. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back in the near future!
It was a lovely place to have lunch. The food was good and the waiter was exceptional. The ambiance was nice. We would recommend it.
Thank you for the wonderful review, Helen! We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed lunch with us. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back very soon.
The experience was overall pleasant. Maddie, our waitress, was incredibly patient, helpful, and kind. She was very attentive and went above and beyond to make my partner and I feel taken care of that evening. While the food was decent (I was not the biggest fan of my pork hock, but the paired tagliatelle was great), it was the serving staff who really made the evening and left a positive impression on my partner and I.
Thank you for a very nice evening. He was glad to see that you had vegan options on the menu. The only solid that net the vacant criteria did have some yogurt. This did not bother us but maybe an issue for some. I would have rather sat a little further away from the entrance to the kitchen but that's something I could have changed while I was there. The polenta dish was excellent we both enjoyed it very much.
An exceptional dinner experience. We had the privilege of speaking with Ken Hookman, Chef de Cuisine, who provides and oversees an extraordinary culinary experience. Without a doubt, this is the finest meal my wife and I have ever experienced.
Food and service was great. Lorne took very good care of us.
very good all around. loved the local selections on almost all ingredients.
I am new to the island, and heard Q at the empress was one of the hottest spots. My sister recently moved out here with me. She got her red seal in culinary arts but because of a bad kitchen experience in her home town she had lost her love of cooking.. so I needed to help her out. So I took her to the empress to eat at Q. I mentioned my sis and her story in the reservation. So we arrive and they take our coats. We marvel at the beautiful space. It has perfect ambiance and the service was perfect.. the food was amazing, it’s like eating art, it’s not just food. My sister started explaining all the menu items and I could see that the spark was coming back. The greatest thing from Q was the fact they took note of what I said and sent a chef to talk to my sister. It was such a perfect night. They set the bar in service, food, and customer experience.
Wonderful atmosphere and service. However the food was mediocre. I found the salmon to be blah. Overcooked and not very tasty at all.
The chef did come by out table and we discussed. Service was amazing and the atmosphere was iconic. It's an experience. I would only go back for the cheesecake - now that, they got perfect!!!!
Magnificent food! The octopus carpaccio, first rate, as with the bison short ribs. Our waitress did not recognize the name of the wine I ordered! So, I assume you do not have anyone trained as a sommelier. Otherwise, all servers were well trained and professional. The food was similar to what we’ve had in a France though more than double the price. Wine is terribly overpriced! $85 for your cheapest bottle??? Cocktails $16? Before tax and tip! Well, it was a special occasion! But you charged for bread? What is this strange new North American custom? I’m sure tourists must be puzzled...especially those from France!
But how heartbreaking to see how badly redesigned the space is! Cheap, uncoordinated furnishings out of sync with the gorgeous Victorian-style building. Hideous mismatched light fixtures! The strange guitar duo and weird cowboy-style costumes of your servers! I think the Empress management don’t know where they are going with the theme.
The amazing thing is how stunningly good the cuisine is. My heart sank when I saw the “dining room”. So dark, depressing. Can’t you redesign? Bring back the elegance!
We had an amazing meal the portions were just the right size and it was delicious. My salmon was cooked perfectly
Thank you for the wonderful review, Cody! We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed the salmon dish. We hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you back soon.
Food was slow to come out and we were the only table in the restaurant. Portions are waaaay too big. I want to enjoy my food not be overwhelmed by it especially since most of the guests are probably travelers that aren't going to be taking leftovers. The lounge and cocktails were fabulous. We will definitely go back to the bar.
This was a perfect example of a corporate-hotel-chain overpriced restaurant, which is to say, not very good. The food was better than I expected, but I went in with low expectations. Staffing was clunky and amateurish. The cost was very high, given the overall rating. $577 plus tip for four people, including one bottle of wine and four glasses of champagne. I won't be going back.
We were impressed by the depth of the menu and enjoyed dishes that were creatively prepared and served. The decor at the Q Restaurant is sensational, and the service warm and inviting.
Had dinner for two with my wife. Pros: Service was good. Cons: Food was very salty and covered with unnecessary sauce. Tenderloin was not medium rare as ordered and the bison ribs were quite tough. Both main dishes had lots of overcooked vegetables surrounding the meat. Wine at $22 a glass also seemed steep. Unfortunate as the Fairmont is a lovely place to stay. However, we will eat away from the hotel on our next visit.
We truly appreciated every aspect of our experience. The staff were extremely kind and attentive. The food was great! Thank you for creating a special memory for our family.
We had brunch at Fairmont empress, not the best brunch but excellent service.